Fillings are a form of dental care that helps you extend the life of your teeth by replacing the part that was scraped away due to decay. A dentist is the only one who can determine if you need a filling.

tooth filling

There are several advanced techniques a dentist can use to determine if you need one, such as x-rays, cavity detecting decaying rinse, fluorescence laser cavity detection aids or good old-fashioned observation. For many people, getting a filling usually cures the ache or sensitivity associated with tooth decay. However, others may experience pain or discomfort following a filling. So what should you do now?

What’s Normal and What’s Not
After a filling, you may notice that your tooth is sensitive to air, pressure, sweet foods or coldness. A little sensitivity near the area your dentist worked on is normal. In some cases, this sensitivity may last one to two weeks. Until then, you should avoid any foods or anything that may increase this sensitivity. However, if you want instant relief, here are a few suggestions:

Warm water and salt – Pour two to three teaspoons of salt into a cup of warm water. Stir it up and drink, but do not swallow. Hold it in your mouth for about five minutes. You can do this twice a day. This mixture will eliminate any bacteria that is in your mouth and ease the pain.

Mouthwash – Try swishing around an antiseptic mouthwash in your mouth for about two minutes. This will help kill any bacteria and reduce any swelling.

Wet Tea Bag – Wet a black tea bag or peppermint tea bag and place it on the area that aches. Do not make it hot. Black teas has astringent tannins that can reduce inflammation, while peppermint tea can provide a gentle numbing effect that can soothe your pain.
Remember, you should contact your dentist if sensitivity worsens or does not get any better after two weeks.

Naughty Composite Fillings
Composite fillings are known to cause sensitivity after the dentist puts it in. A composite filling is composed of a plastic and glass mixture called, “composite resin” that your dentist can make to match the color of your tooth. A tooth can hurt after a composite filling for several reasons. One reason is because the composite filling shrinks after it hardens on your tooth, which will either form a gap around the filling or pull the tooth together. Another reason is too much composite resin was applied to your tooth. This action will cause the filling not to be functional because it is not strong enough. Other reasons include tooth fractures from other types of filling, or the composite resin developed a bubble while it was in liquid form. These types of fillings are not always bad. When a composite filling is applied correctly, it can last a long time without any issues. Other filling materials are capable of causing sensitivities too.

If your sensitivity persists longer than two weeks, contact a dentist office and ask her or him to take a look at it. Only an experienced dentist should correct large composite fillings before it escalates into a bigger problem.

High Filling Placement
One of the most common reasons a filled tooth can cause you pain after the anesthesia has worn off is because your dentist placed the filling too high in your tooth. The only way to relieve this pain is to contact your dentist office, make an appointment so your dentist can examine the tooth and determine if the filling needs to be lowered.

Galvanic Shock
Are you experiencing a very sharp pain similar to a shock when your upper teeth touches your lower teeth? If you are, this is known as a galvanic shock. This dental condition occurs when two metals in your mouth touches and causes an electric current. For example, if your dentist gave you an amalgam filling in a bottom tooth and you already had a gold crown in the tooth above it, this would cause a galvanic shock.

Some dentists consider galvanic shock as an obstacle to achieving overall dental health. However, your dentist can help you to alleviate the pain of galvanism by removing the metal from the tooth to stop the electrical charge.

Talking to Your Dentist
Your dentist is not a mind reader. She or he has no way of knowing what pain or sensitivity a filling material may cause you. It is important to tell her or him exactly what you are feeling and where the pain is. This information will help your dentist determine how to help you. Most dentists will alter the type of fillings they are using and make other necessary changes if made aware of your issues.